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The Office recap: Ethically Speaking

A disagreement over Meredith’s sketchy dealings points out Michael’s and Holly’s fundamentally different world views, while Jim leads Dwight by the nose again

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The Office
Justin Lubin

The Office

TV Show
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Good evening, my little binder clips, and welcome to my first attempt at an Office TV Watch! I’d like to thank the noble Aubry D’Arminio for filling in for me on the premiere, and ask for everyone’s forbearance as I take the specific skill set I’ve cultivated over four years of crabbily recapping reality shows (Apprentice,Hell’s Kitchen) and awkwardly recapping serialized dramas (LostTerminator) and apply it to this, a half-hour sitcom. One hopes, as one naturally would, that the public-response chips will fall on the side of happy harmony — but much like Michael Scott himself, I often have no ability to predict the effects of my actions, though they become abundantly clear after I’ve already acted upon them. Consequently, the secret to success in my life continues to be in maintaining low expectations. Into the paper-pushing breach!

So, Jim and Pam are engaged. Did you hear? Actually, it’s possible you didn’t: Jim (a.k.a. “the tall guy”) didn’t tell anyone, at least not at Dunder Mifflin. You know Pam told everyone in her world — I’m sure she at least changed her Facebook status — and so she’s steamed at the folks in the office (who I guess it was the tall guy’s responsibility to inform) for not calling to congratulate her. (Left hanging from the season premiere: how her new art-school BFF, Mad Men moonlighter Rich Sommer took the news, given that he was obviously set up as a potential wedge between her and Jim during her sojourn in New York City. Maybe he had to hurry back to the ’60s, and missed the whole announcement?) To make up for his lapse in information dispersal, Jim decided to tell the office right then and there, with Pam on speakerphone. (Note to this show’s creative team: I will not be happy if we spend much more of this season with Jenna Fischer on Skype/speakerphone. Sorry. I get what you’re trying to do, but I’ve got plenty of long-distance relationships in my real life; I don’t need to spend my vicarious life pining after fake strangers.) The reaction Jim got to the announcement was about as good as could be expected: Oscar could have sworn they already were engaged (“That was Roy,” corrected Angela); Kevin wondered if this meant he needed to buy a new engagement gift (or was it okay to just use the one he got for Pam and Roy?); Dwight helpfully reminded Jim that Pam is not a virgin (speaking of sex…oh, we’ll get to that later); and Andy worried that Tuna was trying to steal his engagement thunder. But the most touching response, both literally and figuratively, came from Michael, who tackled Jim to the ground. It’s times like these I’m thankful that I outweigh the majority of my editors. And spend a lot of time working from home.

NEXT: Meeting of the minds